"Well it was a good day until you showed up"
Luis spat, his anger rising.
"What did I do?" Sheridan asked innocently. "All I did was say good morning and nicely at that."
"Fine, youíve said good morning. In case you havenít noticed, itís now afternoon, so Iíll say good afternoon
and you can leave."
"My, you certainly are in a hurry to get rid of me arenít you?" Sheridan stated. "Oh I know, youíre
meeting someone. I bet itís a woman by the look on your face, am I right?"
Jay, who was watching the whole scene while hidden behind a tree on the other side of the garden shook her head.
"Careful Sheridan" she said softly.
"Look, Miss Crane, I donít want to sound rude, but what I do and who I meet is none of your business."
"Officer, what would make you think that Iíd care who you meet? I just find it interesting youíd be meeting
a woman carrying a childís toy in your hand, unless of course the woman has a child?"
"Itís not a childís toy and she doesnít have a child" Luis seethed. "What the hell are you doing
here anyway? Didnít I make it clear I wanted you to leave?" He was angry for letting himself get tricked into
admitting he was meeting a woman, as well as the fact that of all people, Sheridan was standing there when he was
about to meet KC. Luis glanced around hoping sheíd be in sight and also hoping she wasnít anywhere near there because
he didnít want her to see him with Sheridan.
Sheridan, who still donned a small smile sat down on the bench with Luis.
"What are you doing?" Luis asked in nearly a panic.
"Sitting down" Sheridan told him. "I thought a smart cop like you could have figured that one out
all by yourself."
"Not here youíre not" Luis said adamantly.
"Whatís wrong with right here?" Sheridan asked politely. "This is a public park and I have as much
right to be here as you do."
"Look, Sheridan I told you I was meeting someone. Why donít you pick another bench? The park is filled with
them. Better yet, why not pick another park? Iím sure the Cranes must own a few private parks the size of Yellowstone
and you could have the whole thing to yourself."
"Fine" Sheridan said standing up looking around for another bench. A wave of relief spread across Luisí
face until he saw where she sat. There was another bench on the back side of the one he was sitting at that Sheridan
decided to sit on.
Jay couldnít help but smile. Sheridan certainly was determined.
"Now what are you doing?" Luis asked.
"Sitting at another bench just as you requested" Sheridan answered.
"You donít take hints very well, do you?" Luis asked.
"All I wanted to do was sit down and enjoy the view. Is that so wrong?"
ĎWhen you do it near me then yes, it is wrong" Luis answered.
Sheridan was beginning to tire of listening to Luis belittle her. This obviously was a mistake.
"Well, I guess I was wrong about you" Sheridan finally said. "I was beginning to think last night
that you werenít as mean spirited as I imagined, but it appears that I was right in the first place."
"Mean spirited? Is that how you see ME?" Luis shot in anger. "Let me tell you a little something
about mean spirited Miss Crane. That is a title that fits <i>you</i> and that group of degenerates
you call family. Actually, mean spirited is too nice an adjective to describe the Crane clan. Let me give you a
better word. How about disreputable?"
"You donít know anything about me or my family" Sheridan defended.
"Your last name is Crane isnít it?" Luis asked. "If your last name is Crane, then I know everything
there is to know about you. Youíre nothing but a cold-hearted, ruthless, dishonest, menacing, threatening, misguided,
conceited specimen of humanity. Hell I donít think the Cranes are human at all. Probably some form of demonic nightmare
that the poor unfortunate people of Harmony have been subjected to for as long as the town has been chartered.
And <i>you</i> are nothing but the spoiled princess, stuck-up daughter of the evil patriarch of the
family. I pity any man who ever gets involved with you. It would be nothing short of a life sentence of misery
with death being a preferred choice."
Luisí words wounded Sheridan to the core. She knew better than to come here today, but her feelings for Pezz, the
good man she thought he was, forced her to take a chance. Sheíd hoped against hope that the personality of the
Luis sheíd danced with last night was the real him and that he could overcome his prejudices against her family.
She was wrong, dead wrong.
Sheridan stood up on shaky legs, trying to regain as much dignity as she could from this completely humiliating
experience. She could barely look him in the eye. "Well now" she said unable to keep all emotion out
of her voice. "Iíll be leaving now Officer. You have your wish. Good luck meeting your friend. I hope she
has all of the qualities you are looking for in a woman, where as I seem to just possess everything you hate in
Luis knew heíd gone too far. He saw the hurt in her eyes and regretted his words immediately, but there was nothing
he could do now. He couldnít take them back. He swallowed hard, but said nothing.
Sheridan turned and left as quickly as she could. She started off walking with her head held high, but soon took
off running when she felt the tears falling down her cheeks.
Jay watched the scene unfold in shock. She knew Luis hated Julian and Alistair Crane. She knew he despised everything
the Cranes stood for, but never had she seen him act in such a manner. Never had she witnessed Luis treat a woman
as nice as Sheridan, or any woman for that matter, in such a reprehensible manner. Her heart was breaking for Sheridan
right now and she knew she had to go after her, but first chance she had, she planned on giving Luis Lopez Fitzgerald
a very large piece of her mind.
"Sheridan! Sheridan!" Jay yelled, trying to catch up with her. She had no idea until it was too late
that Sheridan had run several marathons while she was in France.
Sheridan slowed and turned around when she heard Jay calling after her. She stopped, allowing Jay to catch up.
"Iím so sorry about what happened back there" she said sincerely.
Sheridan wiped more tears from her cheek, which was beginning to sting. "Why are you sorry? You werenít the
one who accused me of being demonic. You werenít the one who believes a man would be better off dead than involved
with me." She somehow thought that if she repeated the words they wouldnít sound quite as bad, but it only
made her feel worse. Sheridan couldnít remember being more hurt by any man in her life, no exceptions. She didnít
even bother brushing away the new tears that formed. There was no use.
Jay didnít know what to do. She decided to do the only thing she could right now, be Sheridan's friend. She hugged
her, allowing her to cry on her shoulder. Sheridan gratefully accepted Jayís offer of friendship and sobbed quietly.
Jay could only imagine the pain Sheridan must be feeling right now. She knew that Sheridan found Luis attractive
right from the beginning and after the tango they shared last night, she was sure she had feelings for him. Today,
not only did Luis reject her in a most atrocious manner, but she also found out that the man she trusted more than
anyone in this world, the man she longed to meet was no one but Luis, the man who attacked her and hurt her deeply.
Jay waited until Sheridanís tears slowed. Sheridan pulled away from Jay and began pulling herself together. "God,
I must look a mess. Iím sorry for subjecting you to this."
"Sheridan, donít be silly" Jay said softly. "Iím here for you if you need me. Thatís what friends
do for each other."
Sheridan managed a genuine smile. "Thank you Jay. I really needed a friend right now."
"You know, Sheridan, I consider both you and Luis to be my friends, but right now, he's not making it very
easy for me to be his friend. Not after what he just said to you, the way he treated you. I'm trying to figure
out what got into him, but whatever it was, I won't try to defend him to you. He was wrong, plain and simple, he
was wrong and there is absolutely no excuse for his behavior."
Sheridan nodded slightly, but right now she really didnít want to talk about Luis and Jay knew it.
"What do you say I give you a ride home Sheridan?" Jay offered. "Then Iíll come back and bring your
car back for you."
"Iíd love a ride Jay, thank you" Sheridan said gratefully.
Jay and Sheridan walked back to the Book Cafe in silence. Jay watched Sheridan as she dealt with the hurtful blow
sheíd been dealt today and thought about Luis. She still couldnít fathom him treating anyone the way heíd treated
Sheridan. As soon as she made sure Sheridan was ok, she planned to track down Officer Lopez Fitzgerald.
Luis opened the door and walked into the kitchen of his house. His mother was chopping vegetables on the counter
and smiled when she saw her son enter. "Good afternoon Hijo" she greeted.
"Hi Mama" Luis said almost dejectedly.
Pilar immediately sensed there was something wrong with Luis. "Hijo, what is it that has you in such a mood?"
"Itís nothing Mama" Luis answered automatically.
"This face of yours is nothing?" Pilar asked in surprise. "Iíve seen happier faces on death row
inmates. Tell me Luis, what is bothering you?"
Luis opened the refrigerator and grabbed a can of coke. He pulled back the tab and took a long drink before answering
his mother. "I was supposed to meet someone in the park today and they never showed up."
"Was it a date?" Pilar asked curiously.
"I guess you could call it that" Luis told her as he pulled out a chair at the table and sat down. Pilar
wiped off her hands on a dishrag and pulled up a chair across the table from her son.
"Is she anyone I know?" Pilar questioned.
"I donít know Mama" Luis said. "Like I said, she never showed up."
"You had a date with someone youíve never met?"
"Iíve never actually met her, but I do know her" Luis answered.
"Hijo, Iím not following you" Pilar told him in confusion.
"I met her on the internet" Luis admitted.
Suddenly it all became clear to Pilar. "Casey" she said knowingly.
Luis looked at his mother, surprise on his face. "How did you know?"
Pilar smiled. "Luis, contrary to what you might think about me, I wasnít born yesterday. Iíve seen you on
your computer late at night. Iíve heard you call the name Casey out in your sleep. It all makes sense now."
Luis chuckled softly. "Still keeping tabs on me I see. As usual youíre right. KC Girl and I have been emailing
back and forth for a few months now" Luis told her emphasizing K-C.
The color drained from Pilarís face. "What is this girlís name Luis?" She asked uneasily.
Luis shrugged his shoulders. "I donít know. I was supposed to find out today when we met, but as I said she
didnít show up. Instead, Sheridan Crane showed up and I really let her have it."
Pilar inhaled a deep breath, regaining her composure. She knew Sheridanís mother used to refer to Sheridan as KCís
girl when she was a small child. ĎIs it possible that Luisí KCGirl and Sheridan are the same person?í Pilar wondered.
"Hijo, what do you mean you let Sheridan have it?" Pilar asked.
"I laid into her. I told her I have no use for any Crane including her. I think I went too far though, she
looked like I hurt her. I didnít know a Crane could get hurt. Only humans have feelings."
"Hijo!" Pilar yelled in shock. "Dios mio, you didnít tell her such a thing!"
"Yes Mama, I did" Luis admitted.
"Dear God, I did not raise my children to act in such an abominable manner. Luis Lopez Fitzgerald, I am ashamed
of your behavior." Pilar was absolutely mortified that her son would actually treat a woman like that whether
she was a Crane or not.
"Look, Iím sorry Mama" Luis implored. "I donít know what got into me. I guess I was just nervous
about meeting KC and when she was late I got more nervous and then Sheridan showed up and I didnít want KC to see
me with her."
"Is that all Luis?" Pilar questioned. "Is that the only reason that you hurt Sheridan so?"
"I donít understand Mama" Luis said.
"Could it be that you were angry at Sheridan because you have feelings for her and you donít want to because
she is a Crane?"
"Thatís absurd!" Luis scoffed. "I thought we had this discussion last night? I told you I had no
interest in Sheridan Crane."
"Hijo, if thatís true then why did you act the way you did? People only act that way for two reasons. Love
"I donít LOVE Sheridan Crane!" Luis said adamantly.
"Then you truly must hate her. How sad for you hijo" Pilar responded sorrowfully.
Luis stood up from the table and ran his hands through his thick head of black hair. He paced for a moment before
responding. "I donít hate her Mama" Luis finally announced. "I really didnít mean the things I said
to her but I couldnít help it."
"Luis, you should know by now that you choose the things you say and do to people. You chose to lash out at
Sheridan. It was a wrong choice. Now you must choose what to do next. I think you know what the right thing to
do is, do you not?"
"Yes Mama. I need to apologize to Sheridan."
"Yes Luis. You do owe Sheridan an apology, but donít do it because I want you to. Do it because you know itís
the right thing to do. Do it because you want to do it."
"Youíre right Mama" Luis said nodding his head. "I think Iím going to take a walk to the Book Cafe
and grab a cup of coffee. The walk will help clear my head."
"Very good hijo" Pilar said with a small smile. She knew her son would do the right thing.
"Here you go Sheridan" Jay said with a warm smile as she handed Sheridan a cup of hot tea.
"Thank you for everything Jay" Sheridan smiled. "I donít know how I would have survived this ordeal
without you here. Youíve really been a wonderful friend."
"Youíre welcome Sheridan" Jay answered, but you would have survived on your own. It just makes it easier
to have another person around."
"Iíll say" Sheridan remarked.
"As long as Iím going back to the Book Cafe for your car, I think Iím going grab some of those movies that
are being stored there since the Youth Center is closed for repairs. What do you say we watch one when I get back?"
"That sounds like a terrific idea" Sheridan agreed.
"Is there anything in particular youíd like to see?" Jay asked.
"Something old" Sheridan said. "Something light so I donít have to think much."
"Iíll find something" Jay smiled. "Will you be all right for a little bit while IĎm gone?"
"Iíll be fine" Sheridan said.
"Good." Jay told her as she opened the door to leave. "Iíll pick up some munchies for us while Iím
"That sounds good" Sheridan agreed. "Make sure you pick up some Ben and Jerryís chocolate chip cookie
dough ice cream. It always makes me feel better."
"Sure thing" Jay replied. "Iíll get the best foods known to woman for wallowing."
Sheridan laughed lightly as she watched Jay depart. Sheíd only known Jay for a short time and yet she felt closer
to her than any of the girls sheíd befriended while living in Paris. Harmony certainly was everything a small town
should be... with one exception of course.
Luis wandered around town for awhile before he found himself at the Book Cafe. He ordered a cup of coffee and sat
down, still contemplating his earlier encounter with Sheridan and the fact that KC had not shown up. His conversation
with his mother still weighed heavily on him. He couldnít believe that she would even suggest that he had feelings
for Sheridan. How could he? After all, she was a Crane and Luis knew that all Cranes were evil.
He stared at the computer that was sitting on the table in front of him and debated whether to write to KC. His
thoughts were interrupted though when he looked up and saw Jay standing over him.
"Jay!" Luis exclaimed in surprise. "What are you doing here?"
"The Youth Center videos are being stored here during the roof repairs," she said calmly. "I came
here to get some movies to take back to Sheridan's."
"What did she do, call and ask you to get one of the movies from the Youth Center so she didnít have to pay
for it?" Luis asked without thinking.
"What is it with you and the subject of Sheridan?" Jay asked in disgust. "I canít believe the things
Iíve been hearing coming out of your mouth lately Luis, especially what I heard you say to her today."
"You know what happened?" Luis asked not able to look his friend in the eye.
"Yeah, I know what happened." Jay answered. "I was there. Not only was I close enough to see everything,
but I heard every horrible thing that you said to Sheridan."
"Jay, I already got a lecture from my mother. I donít need another one" Luis told her.
"Tough, you're going to get another lecture and you are going to pay attention to every single word."
Jay stated firmly. "What you did to Sheridan was indefensible. You crossed the line."
"Jay, I..." Luis began, but Jay wasnít finished yet.
"Luis, Iím not finished talking and youíre not finished listening" Jay said without batting an eye. Without
missing a beat Jay continued. "Sheridan's worked her butt off at the Youth Center and she's done a great job
there. You should be kissing her feet in gratitude for all her work and how well and how quickly she's fit in.
But instead, you do everything you can to make her life miserable."
"Jay, I know. I realize..."
"Luis, Iíve defended you to Sheridan every single time that you've treated her badly in the past. Iíve told
her what a great guy you are and I've even explained why you hate her family so much. But Luis, I canít defend
you on this one. I wonít defend you. What you did to Sheridan today was flat-out wrong.
"I know youíre right" Luis agreed. "Itís just that sheís a Crane and..."
"You may think you attacked Sheridan because she is a Crane and you hate the Cranes, and that would be an
understandable reason, but that isn't really why you did it. You attacked Sheridan because you were angry with
yourself and you were taking it out on her. It's been your pattern of trying to deal with your feelings for her
since the first day you met her."
"What are you talking about? What pattern?"
"When you look at Sheridan, you don't see her as a person, you see her last name. You look at her and see
a neon flashing sign that says CRANE and it warns you away from her because she is the 'enemy'. But then, something
happens and the sign disappears and you see the Sheridan that the rest of us see and you not only don't hate her,
you actually like her. In fact, you like her a lot and you won't deal with what you are really feeling. It happened
last night when you danced the tango with her and I've seen it happen other times too. But then, you get angry
with yourself for consorting with the enemy. So, you do or say something mean to Sheridan to push her away from
you, so you don't have to deal with what you are feeling. And each time it happens, you get angrier at yourself
for forgetting she's the enemy, so each time you get meaner and push her harder."
"What are you talking about Jay?"
"You are nasty to Sheridan because you can't deal with your own feelings. You're extremely attracted to someone
who you think should be the enemy. You're scared to death that if you let your guard down, you'll fall in love
with Sheridan Crane. Oh, and let's not forget cyber girl."
"What does KC have to do with this?"
"You've convinced yourself that you're in love with KC and since you're a one-woman kind of guy, you feel
like you're being disloyal to cyber girl by having feelings for a real live flesh and blood woman. Your feelings
for Sheridan make you feel like you're cheating on KC. So, you took your guilt out on Sheridan too."
Luis didn't say anything. He waited for Jay to finish.
"You couldn't have been a bigger jerk if you had planned it all ahead of time. You hurt her Luis. You really
hurt her this time. You may have even succeeded in pushing her away for good. And she didn't deserve it. This whole
situation is your fault and your issues, Sheridan is not to blame for any of it. You owe her a huge apology that
I wouldn't blame her if she refused to accept. And if you want to regain any of my respect that you've lost today,
and Luis, you have seriously lost a lot of my respect, you better do some heavy soul searching and make a concerted
effort to treat Sheridan decently from now on."
Luis could barely look Jay in the eyes. He already felt terrible about what heíd done, but Jay seemed to make him
feel that much worse.
"Ok, lecture over. I'm leaving now. I'm driving Sheridan's car back to her cottage for her. She wasn't in
any shape to drive after you got done with her earlier."
Without waiting for Luis to reply, Jay turned and left Luis to think about what she said. In all the time Luis
had known Jay, sheíd never spoken to him like that. He sighed as he watched Jay leave the Book Cafe and not turn
back. He had no idea how things had gotten so far out of control. His mother was angry at him, as was Jay. Heíd
hurt Sheridan Crane, a woman who had gone out of her way to be nice to him and didnít even know why. Heíd had run
ins with her brother and nephew before and though he wasnít pleasant heíd never treated them the way he treated
Sheridan earlier in the park.
So why did he deliberately say things to her that he knew would wound her deeply? Luis asked himself this question
over and over in his head. He knew the answer was there, but for some reason he couldnít or wouldnít bring it to
the front of his mind.
Luis reasoned that he was angry at Sheridan for showing up at the park when he was supposed to be meeting KC. He
closed his eyes and hoped that KC hadnít seen him there with Sheridan. ĎMaybe thatís why she didnít show up? She
saw Sheridaní he thought. ĎOr maybe she was in an accident? Or maybe she got lost? All sorts of reasons flashed
through his mind, but he was finding it hard to concentrate at the moment on KC, when the guilt he felt over what
he did to Sheridan was weighing so heavily on his mind.
Luis tried to organize his thoughts in his mind. He needed to email KC and find out what happened to her. He didnít
even want to entertain the idea that she changed her mind and didnít want to meet him. There had to be a reason.
He also needed to apologize to Sheridan. He heaved a sigh when he realized that was going to be the most difficult
task of all. She had every reason to not believe anything he said at this point, but he truly was sorry for the
things he said to her and had every intention of changing his behavior where she was concerned. As much as he hated
Alistair and Julian Crane as well as what the Crane name stood for, he knew in his heart of hearts Sheridan wasnít
like her father and brother. Not only was she about the most beautiful woman heíd ever met, but she was great with
the kids at the Youth Center and had a kind heart. These were traits heíd not seen before in a Crane.
A vision of himself dancing with Sheridan popped into his head. He remembered how he felt holding her in his arms.
While he danced with her he felt as if there were no other people on the planet, it was just the two of them. The
feel of her skin, scent of her perfume, glint in her eyes all had him completely mesmerized in a way heíd never
been before. "Maybe Jayís right?" Luis said in defeat. "Maybe I do like her."
Still torn between the two women, Luis decided to take care of one thing at a time. Since there was a computer
terminal in front of him, he decided the easiest thing to do first was email KC. He also needed more time to think
about the Sheridan situation.
Sheridan sat on her couch waiting for Jay to return. The silence was deafening, but what was worse was the sound
of the voice in her head thinking about her humiliating experience with Luis earlier. Being alone with those thoughts
was not what she wanted. Not at all.
She slowly walked over to her computer and decided to find something to entertain her until Jay came back. "At
least itís a distraction" Sheridan said as she turned on her computer. As she got online she thought about
Pezz and the fact that KC had not shown up for their meeting. As far as she knew, Luis didnít know she was KC,
yet she was not willing to contact him at this point. She pulled up her privacy preferences and added Pezzís name
to a list of people to block. She wanted no contact with him at this point and she knew heíd IM her if he saw her
Once that was accomplished, she checked her email and groaned softly when she saw at least a half-dozen emails
from her friends. Godis, BabyShuis, Katy4IU, LibertyGal, OnicaísMom and several others. She knew what they all
wanted. They wanted news on her meeting with Pezz.
Sheridan knew that she was going to have to explain this to them at some point, so it might as well be now. She
pulled up a blank page and composed one letter to send to the girls.
I know youíre all dying to know what happened today with my meeting with Pezz. I wish I had an answer for you,
but the truth is, KCGirl never showed up.
I discussed some of this with Godis and BabyShuis last night and while I did go to the appointed spot at the right
time, I never acknowledged who I was. It turns out that I know Pezz and he and I donít get along very well. As
a matter of fact, itís worse than that.
Iím not ready to get into details yet, but I wanted to let you know what happened. Today was indeed a memorable
day for me, but not in the manner I anticipated.
Please donít worry about me. Iíll be just fine.
I hope to talk to you all very soon.
As Sheridan clicked send, she heard a knock on her door.
She stood up and walked over to the cottage door and was greeted by a smiling Jay with her arms filled with movies
and a bag of munchies.
"Here, let me help you with that Jay" Sheridan offered as she took the bag of food from Jay.
"Thanks Sheridan" Jay said as she walked in and placed the movies on the coffee table in Sheridanís living
Sheridan closed the door and followed Jay while peeking in the bag. "Wow! You got some great stuff here, including
my chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream."
"I told you I knew what kind of food to buy when one wants to wallow in self pity" Jay said with a smirk.
"So, what movie do you think youíd like to watch? I brought An
Affair to Remember, Casablanca, Shop Around the Corner, Roman Holiday..."
"Definitely An Affair to Remember" Sheridan said quickly. "I love that movie."
"That was my choice too" Jay remarked. "Great minds think alike I guess."
Sheridan stared at Jay while she grabbed the right movie and took the cassette out of its case. "So Jay, how
long have you known?"
Jay looked up from what she was doing and exhaled slowly. She knew exactly what Sheridan was talking about. She
motioned to the couch for them both to sit down so she could explain to Sheridan exactly what she knew. Sheridan
followed her lead and seated herself waiting for Jayís explanation.
"The truth is I didnít know for sure until I found your ring in the shower yesterday afternoon. When I saw
the initials KC engraved on it and you explained where the name came from, then I knew."
"I gather that Luis told you about KCGirl?" Sheridan asked looking for confirmation.
"He did" Jay acknowledged. "Luis and I have been emailing each other since I moved to California.
He told me about you the first time he emailed you. He fell in love with your post on Spain and couldnít help but
write to you."
"I see" Sheridan said, not sure how much she really wanted to know, but yet Pezz had never hurt her.
KCGirl is the one who hurt PezzMan by not showing up and part of her still needed to know everything she could
about the man that captured her heart. "What else did Luis tell you about KCGirl?" Sheridan finally asked.
"Sheridan, I know this whole situation must be tough on you, but I have to tell you that Luis is crazy about
KCGirl. From the first time you emailed him he couldnít stop talking about you. I donít know if itís possible to
fall in love with a cyber pal, but if it is then PezzMan is definitely in love with KCGirl."
"Yet Luis hates Sheridan Crane" Sheridan added quietly.
"I don't think Luis hates you, Sheridan and I told him the same thing when I saw him a few minutes ago. I'm
hoping that the Luis I know and love will think long and hard about what he's done and that he will try to make
things right with you, if that's even possible at this point."
"I donít know Jay" Sheridan said thoughtfully. "Iíve taken a lot from him in the last few weeks,
but today was... today was just too much."
"I agree with you Sheridan" Jay concurred.
"Enough talk about Luis" Sheridan said not wanting to think about it anymore. "Letís watch Ingrid
Bergman and Cary Grant."
Jay nodded and got up to put the tape in the VCR. The two friends settled down to a quiet afternoon of movie watching.